Written by Kevin Lerner
10 of the world’s scariest slides and pathetically bad PowerPoint presentations…and a few PowerPoint makeovers and redesigns just in time for Halloween.
Bullets kill. And so do bullet points…sucking the life out of audiences, who stare like zombies into the abyss of the grey and heartless projection screen while a mummy-like speaker recites mind-numbing paragraphs of text. So as the cool autumn winds blow, let’s open the crypt of ten of the world’s scariest presentations…and share a few magical potions to bring them back to life.
By Nancy Duarte
No one wants to be that guy, the one whose captive audience spends the majority of the meeting sighing and staring their smartphones. We all know that guy, and chances are we’ve been him, too. How can anyone be expected to pay attention while Mr. Monotone drones on? Fortunately, you can avoid the mistakes that are costing you the attention of your audience—once you know what to look for.
At the root of a dull and dreary presentation is a lack of contrast. The contrast I’m talking about is a multi-dimensional technique that can easily apply to every aspect of your presentation.
Why does contrast work? Because, as humans, we are naturally drawn to it. Everything about life is filled with contrast—black and white, male and female, love and hate.
Here are some common mistakes people make around contrast.
Presentations can be unbearable.
Which presentation techniques can help you improve your delivery and convince your audience?
By Simon Jones
Simon Jones explains how to create effective slideshows in Microsoft’s market-leading tool – and keep your audience from boredom or nausea
When you’re designing a presentation, it’s tempting to make it as whizzy as possible. After all, PowerPoint offers plenty of fancy features, so shouldn’t you try to use them?
Actually, no – just because you can perform eye-catching tricks doesn’t mean you should. PowerPoint is a great presentation tool, but it’s too easy to go overboard by adding stuff that distracts from the message you’re trying to convey. The general principle when working with PowerPoint is definitely “less is more”.
Let’s take an example. The act of moving from one slide to another is called a transition, and PowerPoint lets you choose from many different effects. Some of them are subtle, but many are so garish that you risk frightening your audience right out of the door. Preview them all, then pick the one that best matches the message you want to convey, your company’s image and the audience that will see the presentation.
Highlight large images
Many PowerPoint slides include placeholders for inserting images. Most of these placeholders are pretty small in comparison to the entire slide. While using these placeholders lets you place text alongside your pictures, it can also detract from the power of your images and make all of your slides look the same. If your presentation includes important images, try making them cover the entire slide. While you won’t be able to include very much text on those slides, displaying the right image can be an effective tool to reinforce an important point in your presentation. Plus, it just looks better, doesn’t it?
By Ellen Finkelstein
Do you have to fix up slides that other people made a mess of? I do. For some reason, I get a lot of slides on which people ignored the Layout feature of PowerPoint; instead, they inserted text boxes anywhere on the slide—in a different location on each slide! Often, the first thing I do is to check the layout of each slide, change it if necessary, and reset the slide. Why is resetting so valuable? When you make changes on individual slides, PowerPoint remembers them. As a result, even if you change the layout, the changes remain. Often the best way to get such a presentation into shape is to reset the layouts. When you do so, PowerPoint moves the placeholders into the position specified by the slide master. On this slide, the title placeholder was probably in the original location, but the text placeholder that contains the bulleted text was centered. The slide has no alignment, so the eye has to move in a disjointed fashion. Talk about stress on the brain!
by Brian Halligan
I have recently come across some interesting Powerpoint best practices that I thought I would share with you.
The first best practice was from watching Steve Jobs’ presentation at MacWorld this year. What was fascinating about his slides is that they were either just a picture or just a picture with a couple of words in extremely large font. It turns out that Steve wants the audience to listen to him tell the story, rather than read the slides.
Here’s a picture of one of Steve’s slides:
by Julius Vandersteen
If you have been working on a slideshow presentation with PowerPoint on a Mac running OS X, you might determine that you need to add some music to the slides. PowerPoint is part of Microsoft’s Office Suite for Mac, which includes applications for word processing and making spreadsheets. You can add music to a PowerPoint slideshow from GarageBand, Apple’s native application for creating songs, or from iTunes, Apple’s native application for ripping CDs, downloading songs from the iTunes Store and playing music. Music can provide atmosphere during your PowerPoint presentation to help increase audience interest while you present information to them.
Step 1 Launch PowerPoint on your Mac and open the slideshow project to which you want to add music.
Step 2 Click the slide in the presentation where you want the music to start playing.
Step 3 Click “Media” under “Insert” on the “Home” tab at the top of the PowerPoint application window.
Step 4Click “Audio From File.” You have the option of clicking a folder on your Mac containing a music file, or clicking “GarageBand” or “iTunes” to select music from one of Mac’s native audio applications.
Step 5Navigate to the music file on your Mac, and then click “Insert.” The icon of a speaker appears on the slide to indicate that it has music.